• Dr. Noguchi Named Superintendent


    At the June 4, 2018 regular meeting of Modesto City Schools’ Board of Education, trustees approved the appointment of Sara Noguchi, Ed.D, to the position of Superintendent. The vote was unanimous. 

    Dr. Noguchi was announced as the finalist for the Superintendent’s position on May 22, pending a validation visit to her former school district and final contract negotiations. 

    The validation visit took place on June 1, 2018, as a special open board meeting. Members of Modesto City Schools’ administrative leadership team, union representatives from the Modesto Teachers Association and California School Employees Association, active community members, and the entire Board traveled to the Twin Rivers Unified School District office to speak with other employees and community members who work with Dr. Noguchi. Those that attended the validation visit learned about Dr. Noguchi’s collaborative management style, listened to praise from Twin Rivers’ board members, colleagues and members of the community, and learned about the great programs Dr. Noguchi spearheaded at Twin Rivers.

    Modesto City Schools Board President Amy Elliott Neumann said, “We look forward to Dr. Noguchi bringing her active and innovative leadership to Modesto City Schools.”

    Dr. Noguchi joins Modesto City Schools after having served as Associate Superintendent of Innovations, Research and Design for the Twin Rivers Unified School District in Sacramento County. She previously worked as Interim Superintendent and Area Assistant Superintendent for the Sacramento City Unified School District.

    “I’m incredibly proud to have the opportunity to serve the students, families, educators and staff of Modesto City Schools,” Dr. Noguchi said. “For the past 28 years, every day of my professional career has helped me prepare for the responsibility of leading this remarkable organization.”

    She plans to conduct a 100-day “Look, Listen and Learn” tour of Modesto City Schools, helping her approach her duties with fresh perspectives and ideas.

    Dr. Noguchi began her teaching career in 1992, as a middle school mathematics teacher for the Elk Grove Unified School District. After several promotions to vice principal and interim principal, she was named Principal of James Rutter Middle School in Elk Grove in 2004. She became the Elk Grove Unified Director of Secondary Education in 2007, and was hired as Area Assistant Superintendent by Sacramento City Unified in 2011. Dr. Noguchi joined Twin Rivers in 2015.

    Throughout her career, Dr. Noguchi has been drawn to the educational needs of underserved young people. Her interest in this area is deeply personal: she sees the image of herself in many children who face challenges with aspects of their education and home life.

    “One thing I know for certain is that every young person can achieve amazing things when they have teachers who believe in them,” she said.

    Raised by a single mother in the Sacramento area, Dr. Noguchi struggled with her studies throughout high school. Working as a restaurant server, she finally found her pathway in community college. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from San Diego State University, and a Masters from Sacramento State University. Continuing her education around her professional duties and family life, she earned a Doctor of Education degree from University of Pacific in 2005. The focus for her dissertation was on the professional development needs of school site principals.

    As Superintendent, Dr. Noguchi replaces Pam Able, who retired in January after almost seven years as chief executive of Modesto City Schools. Deputy Superintendent Craig Rydquist served as Interim Superintendent from January through June. Mr. Rydquist served with distinction and dedication.

    Dr. Noguchi lives in Elk Grove and plans to move to Modesto in upcoming months. 

    Modesto City Schools is composed of an elementary district (K-8) and a high school district (9-12) with a common Board of Education and administration. Seven other school districts feed into Modesto City Schools at the high school level. Current enrollment is approximately 30,000. Students are served in 22 elementary schools (K-6), four junior high schools (7-8), seven comprehensive high schools (9-12), and an extensive alternative education program that includes an opportunity and continuation school, independent study and adult evening high school. The school district has more than 3,200 employees, one of the largest work forces in Stanislaus County.